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Pin It Lets Lazy People Outsource Errands 

Wednesday, Jan 5 2011

No good at putting together IKEA furniture? Too lazy to drop off donations at Out of the Closet? Then you're gonna love

The website, which started offering its services in San Francisco this summer, allows people to outsource errands and chores to "runners" for a fee. Users of the site can hire runners to do a variety of unpleasant tasks — wash the dog, weed the garden, get insurance quotes, and even write blog posts. Common jobs are completed through competitive bidding for $20 to $30, typically, including service fees.

The site's target demographic is young professionals, busy parents, and corporations — including Google, which recently completed a four-week trial offering employees complimentary laundry services. But TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque denies that the site caters solely to the well-to-do who can afford to essentially buy time. In fact, she says that the runners are taking their newly earned cash and hiring people to do their chores. "A runner might be earning money one week to get something special done next week," she says.

According to one TaskRabbit executive, runners can make as much as $20,000 per year once they're added to the labor farm after passing a background check.

Despite positive publicity in Businessweek and other national media outlets, TaskRabbit's promise of "service networking" has been spoofed as "service dreamcrushing." In one video parody, producers at humorously suggest TaskRabbit's satiric counterpart WorkTurkey is a site "where people who are too lazy to work can find people who are tired of asking their parents for money."

As TaskRabbit looks to expand into other U.S. cities (it operates only in San Francisco and Boston), Brusque says the runner waiting list here is "hundreds deep" because "the idea resonates with everyone."

With help like that, you'll never have to clean the champagne stains out of your smoking jacket again. Help is only a click and a crisp Andrew Jackson away.

About The Author

Patricia Decker


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